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Friday, September 28, 2012

The Mane Event: New Hair Do and So Much More

A cut and dry affair: the final result

Been feeling all mangy and fed up-ish with my long, straggly hair "don't" lately but was at a bit of a loss as to how to fix the problem as my regular stylist for more than a decade - the fabulous Joanne Tee of Salon Royale - was a distant 2600 km away in Singapore. Finally took the plunge one fine Wednesday evening and made an appointment at Hair Do salon at Causeway Bay.  I was a wee bit apprehensive, not least because I've not cold-called a hair salon for more than a decade, and no one I personally knew has heard of it, much less recommend their services.  But after praying to the Google Gods and checking out Hair Do's website, I realized there was one thing going for it that made it stand a whisker above its competition: more than half of its stylists, designers, and creative directors are Japanese, and the company itself (with four branches all in Causeway Bay) hails from Nippon too.  Call it a gut feeling, but my rationale for selecting them out of the gazillions of hair salons in Hong Kong - and believe me, they are legion - was that I'd hope the Japanese penchant for aesthetics, for obssessing over every minute detail, and for their fervent belief that all presentations matter as much as the substance, would be applied to my tired follicles in the most wondrous way possible.  That hope was realized the moment I was introduced to my stylist Zoie.

Not only were the hair cut and short bob totally what I wanted, but I was super pleasantly surprised by all the little and not-so-little touches that they did throughout the process.  First, Zoie stayed with me from beginning till the end.  That's no time did she fob me off to some silent, slightly churlish junior hair-sweeper who also double duties as the hair washer.  No ma'am.  Zoie personally handled the entire wash, conditioning and towel drying herself, and honestly, I never knew it'd make such a difference having my head coddled and expertly washed, rinsed and, this is the best part, massaged, by an experienced stylist. 

Oh, did I mention the massage already?  Well, it bear repeating and elaborating.

Actually, the correct term would be massages.  Plural.  The first one came when my hair was being shampooed; Zoie tenderly and efficiently worked my scalp, magically ensuring I'll never get any future migraines in this lifetime and the next.  After she rinsed and started on the conditioning, there her fingers were again, kneading my noggin' in all the right ways.  Finally, during the towel dry came the soft pressure again, this time through the microfibres.  Sheer heaven. And this all happened while I was ensconced in the most comfortable hair-washing chair and not one of those uncomfortable contraptions where you have to be in physio days later to sort out your dislocated spinal cord and neck tendons.  Remember when I said presentations and aesthetics matter?  In the world of Hair Do, that translates to investing in snooze-worthy, ergonomic-friendly arm chairs to sink into, having plush velour bean bag blankets (clumsy description, I know, but that's the best I can do, in post-quadruple-massage bliss) to comfortably rest my arms, cooling eye masks to absorb any stray pesky water droplets, and the pièce de résistance - tightly rolled hot towels dabbed gently along my hairline, from ear to ear, to soak up and/or prevent any imaginary errant trickles of water that dare to drip from my towel-dried scalp down my face. 

Honestly, forget the cut and the styling.  Truly, that washing sesh is where it's at.  

I almost forgot to mention the fourth and final massage that Zoie generously bestowed upon me.  This was when I was regretfully back at my main salon chair, waiting for the scissors to make their appearance, when I was treated to an invigorating head, neck and shoulder treatment that had just the right amount of pressure.  No other way to say it....seriously, it was an embarrassment of massage riches by that point.

The cut itself was also an experience.  No perfunctory hair grab and slash here.  Zoie examined my scalp and seemingly every follicle like a Nobel prize-winning botanist would a cherished, much-loved bonsai.  There was a carefully deliberate snip here, a decidedly angular graze there, a contemplative pause, a critical perusal, then it was back to the studied trims again.  I'd never before experienced this much consideration toward my hair and dammit, I gotta say it's a helluva feeling to get that much personal attention. Usually, my observations in those rare times I've strayed from Joanne Tee was pretty much the same as what I'd imagine a cattle-call audition to be: the person in charge being slightly bored, detached, distracted or worse, impatient to get the job done and move on to the next in line.

So in the end, how much did that Great Coiffure Adventure cost me?  A mere HK$288 or US$37.  Un-follicle-believable.  Yes, I had a 10% first-timer discount, but damn....I felt I should be paying them just for the massages alone.  It's the first time I can't wait for my hair to get a wee tad unruly so that I can go back and claim that entire experience again.  Rinse and repeat, indeed.

Where the magic (and wash) happens
Hair Do - 7/F., Plaza 2000, 2-4 Russell St., Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.  Telephone: +852 2528-3886


  1. In the spirit of rinse and repeat, here is my un-follicle-beliveable moment.

    This was way back when hair was cut by barbers and I was at an age when I could still display displeasure by kicking and screaming. That monthly affair usually took two adults; one (always my grandfather) to hold me down while another mean looking man waved sharp metal objects over my brain. That went on until one fine afternoon, my will and lungs outgrew their level of tolerance. After a great deal of head nodding and shaking, I was led into the back room, where they moved aside the dinning table and placed me on a stool in front of an aquarium of swimming gold fish. Peace.
    (For months after that, their problem wasn't in getting me to the barber but reasoning with me why I was too young to care for "lion-heads" - the most beautiful of goldfish.)

  2. Hi Vivienne I couldn't help but comment on what you said, "But after praying to the Google Gods and checking out Hair Do's website.." This was exactly what I've been doing since moving here in 2010 to search for hair salons and places to go for a manicure, massage or a facial. I sometimes stumble upon them on the streets or from glossy magazines. But it came to a point that I got frustrated with this inefficient way of searching for them. This very problem I had with just relying on google and wishing for the best results to show up prompted me to create Prettybooked! Next week, Prettybooked hopes to change the way Hong Kong searches for these places and their services. Cheers.

    1. Fantastic idea you have there...can't wait for Prettybooked to be launched. Will check out the website once it's up and ready!

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